3 Reasons why Bayern Munich have been suffering this season
Bayern Munich, the most successful club of Germany and one of the most successful clubs in Europe, have hit a new low this season in the Bundesliga. They are languishing in the 5th position in the league table at the moment.
They have not been very impressive in the Champions League either, in spite of the fact that they are leading their group after 4 matches. They have struggled to beat the likes of Benfica and AEK Athens and would certainly find it difficult in the knock-out rounds. They are also at a risk of finishing outside the top 4 in the Bundesliga this season, something that has not happened in the last 10 years.
Niko Kovac, the 47 years old Croatian, was appointed as the manager of Bayern in 2018 and has had a very rough ride at the club so far. He definitely does not have the pedigree enjoyed by former Bayern managers like Louis Van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola or Carlo Ancelotti. Still, his good work with Eintracht Frankfurt last season, when he won the DFB Pokal with them, made Bayern appoint him. But a 2-3 loss to league-leaders Borussia Dortmund and a 3-3 draw against lowly Dusseldorf at home has jeopardised his position at the club of late.
We would now take a look at the 3 reasons behind Bayern’s poor showing this season:
1. Conceding goals while playing a high defensive line:
Bayern’s first choice centre-backs, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, are both on the wrong side of 30 and therefore, and have slowed down considerably. Therefore, it is quite natural that they find it very difficult to cope with the rapid pace of young attacking players of the opposition.
Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer exploited this weakness to score against them from counter-attacks. To make matters worse, Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba, the Bayern fullbacks, have a tendency to go into overlaps very frequently and therefore, there is usually no one to give cover to the centre-backs while they are chasing an opposition attacker. Moreover, Niklas Sule, the replacement for either of the centre-backs, is not very fast either.
Bayern have conceded 17 goals in 12 matches in Bundesliga this season and their defensive frailties have been exposed to a large extent. The same defensive weakness has been affecting the German defence in the recent past as well as the Bayern centre-backs are regular starters for the national team as well. Bayern should probably give more emphasis on defending deep and avoid playing a high line.
However, they also need a box-to-box midfielder for carrying balls from their own defensive third. Javi Martinez, their defensive midfielder, is not very comfortable with the ball in his feet and therefore, Hummels has to play as a sweeping centre-back.
In this regard, they are missing Arturo Vidal, who has left for Barcelona. Renato Sanches is probably capable of filling in for him, but he would have to be more consistent with his performances. Thiago Alcantara can do that too but would have to be far more mobile.